Message in Support of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Students, Faculty and Staff from School of Music Director Michael Kim
Dear Members of the School of Music Community,
I am yet again left horrified and speechless, this time at the senseless shooting and murder of eight victims in Atlanta, six of them Asian females. The unspeakable tragedy that occurred in Atlanta is simply unfathomable, and I condemn this despicable act as well as the rising tide of violence and harassment against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders preceding it in the strongest possible terms.
This violence is racialized, xenophobic, gendered, and sexualized in nature. Tragically, many of our Asian students, faculty, and staff members—especially those who are women—have been subject to the fear that this rise in targeted violence, acts of discrimination, and harassment has created for some time now. These members of our SoM community are learning and working despite a severely compromised sense of personal safety.
As an Asian American myself, I find myself deeply disturbed and personally affected by these tragic events. The lingering uncertainty, fear, personal agony, and distress these shootings have created are profound. This is a deeply emotional and stressful time for our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander School of Music community members. I want you all to know that I stand in full support and solidarity with all of you—and to say that we hear you, love you, support you, and are here for you.
Fortunately, there are proactive steps we can all take to make our classes, studios, ensembles, school, and campus a safer space for you, your classmates, and your colleagues:
- If you have experienced or witnessed bias/harassment in the School of Music or within the University of Minnesota, I encourage you to report the incident to the Bias Response and Referral Network at z.umn.edu/bias.
- I also encourage all of you to pursue and enact bystander intervention training, a powerful tool to disarm harassment and harmful words and acts.
- Learn about and address the implicit bias and microaggressions in our everyday lives. The insidious and cumulative impact of bias and microaggressions cannot be overstated.
- Take care of yourself and your mental health.
I say yet again that there is simply no substitute for the compassion we must afford one another as we work to confront and change the systemic and deeply-ingrained racism of our culture. Nor is there a substitute for the courage and boldness we must practice to hold ourselves, one another, and our institutions accountable in this work.
It continues to be a great privilege to serve as Director of this wonderful School of Music, and as always, I am grateful for your patience and grace as our journey continues. Please come together to support and take care of one another during these tumultuous times—and above all, prioritize your safety and health as we move forward.
With warmest regards,
Michael Kim, DMA
Professor and Director